It will be hard for outsiders to believe how little respect business-people have for Mariam Kartikatresni, the TBI Director. But consider this fact: in December 2012 one of TBI’s two joint-venture partners, MCE, terminated the contract rather than have anything to do with her dishonest and unprofessional antics again. (Their one remaining joint ventrue partner is Pajajaran University in Bandung, which part-owns TBI Dago and sends huge numbers of IELTS students through TBI Dago every month, making it the easiest of all TBIs for a manager to achieve success at.)
This slap in the face from MCE is not the first time TBI investors have rebelled at the sloppy and incompetent management style of Mariam. In late 2010 the franchise-owners banded together and refused to have anything to do with Mariam again. They regarded the standard of support they had received from Mariam as so bad, often involving gross dishonesty, that they refused to ever deal with her again. It was at this point that the former Franchise manager was removed and Luke Preece was pushed to the fore as ‘a fresh face’ and ‘a new start’. In retrospect, it is clear that he and Mariam were always colluding together as co-conspirators. By appointing Preece, Mariam could maintain control of franchise schools through her co-conspirator Luke, but there would be an appearance that things had changed. They had not. Luke and Mariam were two parts of the same criminal conspiracy all along.
So how does Mariam stay in power when the owners and investors in around a dozen of their seventeen schools have now refused to deal with her due to her dishonesty and incompetence? It is a typical Jakarta story, alas. It is all about the power of money. Mariam is very clearly a gold-digger who has married a morbidly obese and sickly man- quite literally the most obese man we have ever seen in Indonesia. He is also incredibly loaded, coming from an very wealthy family. (You would have to quite a hopeless romantic to not to see the dollars flashing in Mariam’s eyes here.)
She has almost been removed on a few occasions and she is so laughably incompetent a manager that her time in charge of TBI is known as the ‘Reign of Error’ by many wits, including Luke Preece himself. She was briefly removed as TBI Director in June 2011 but she uses her husband’s money and influence to buy her way back into power. (Her in-laws are on the board.) The whole situation within TBI is due to this incompetent and narcissistic failure of a woman who has bought the position and retained it with her husband’s money. This is not a generous analysis but it has the benefit of being true. It also explains why this sickly language-chain is doing so badly as it lurches into 2013.